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It says in Jeremiah 16:19, "O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, 'Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.' "
To be sure, this can be used to describe the effect of the Gospel on the unbeliever, as he comes to the realization of the vanity of life without God. However, another implication of this verse hits a little closer to the home of those who profess to believe in God through Jesus Christ.
Even as the children of Israel, while in captivity, adopted various pagan traditions and customs (some of which remain with them unto this day), so also have false teachings crept in among the Christian doctrines. Many of them, held as fundamental truths, have been the root of division among Christians; as these extra-biblical teachings are feverishly defended, even when they are indefensible.
It is to this condition that Jeremiah 16:19 speaks. For almost 2000 years, mainstream Christianity has adopted various ideas from other religions, or from secular sources, such as the country in which they live.
Some are maliciously introduced by ministers like Hymenæus and Philetus, who taught that the resurrection had already past (2 Tim. 2:14-18), or Korah and his company, who brought the socialistic, anarchic theology that all the people were holy and therefore had no need of God's system of government. Others are brought in by sincere ministers as a result of lack of biblical knowledge. However it is introduced into the body of teachings, an error promoted by a preacher from the pulpit, will likely be taken by some of the hearers as 'Gospel truth.' This error, over time, can become firmly ensconced in the hearts and minds of sincere men and women.
The Bible admonishes us to seek knowledge and understanding. It can, therefore, be assumed that we will, over time, better understand some things that we did not see as clearly at first, and will have to adjust our thinking to conform to the truth of the Scriptures.
Jeremiah prophesied of a day, when God's people among the Gentiles would begin to examine the things that they have been taught - teachings handed down from generation to generation - and find that they do not line up with Scripture. They will long to know the truth of God, rightly divided.
In that day, people will seek out God's apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and will begin to come in the unity of the faith. Then shall the words of Micah be fulfilled, "And many nations shall come, and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths' " (Micah 4:2).
Dear friends, that day is upon us. Let us examine ourselves, whether we be in the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Amen.
David M. McNabb
Editor & Bible Guy